Tag: baking

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Fantastical Cakes: Incredible Creations for the Baker in Anyone + Win a copy!

Running Press sent me Fantastical Cakes in exchange for an honest review. Here’s what I think. 

You know you’re getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It’s like, ‘See if you can blow this out.’ — Jerry Seinfeld  I’ve loved baking and decorating cakes since I was a kid but I can’t remember any that were spectacular to look at or eat. (Well none except the Strawberry Shortcake one I had for my 10th birthday, but that was store-bought.) It’s only since having my own kids (and a few years later, starting this blog) that I’ve learned a little about the hows and whys of baking and decorating and experimented with a few different techniques. If I could turn back time (🎵 If I could find a way🎵) I would have read Gesine Bullock-Prado’s Fantastical Cakes: Incredible Creations for the Baker in Anyone YEARS AGO because it taught me so many things I wish I’d known before. Unfortunately the book only came out in November and before that Gesine was busy running her Vermont baking school and writing five other books and tending to two dogs, two cats, a flock of chickens and the other animals on her farm. (She’s still got the baking school and the farm. And probably another book already started.) 

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Tanya Bakes by Tanya Burr

Penguin Random House Canada sent me a copy of Tanya Bakes in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

It’s a grey and drizzly day here in Ottawa, much like I imagine it to be in UK lifestyle blogger and YouTube star Tanya Burr’s corner of the world, only hers probably smells like fresh-baked cinnamon buns or lemon drizzle loaf or any of the other homey puddings, pastries, cookies and cakes in her lovely book, Tanya Bakes. It’s her first cookbook and her second book (Love, Tanya was released in 2015) and she’s got a third coming this September called Tanya’s Christmas: Make, Bake and Celebrate (which I’ve already got, thanks to my magical unicorn friend Maria). Inside this one are page after page of comfort foods — mostly desserts, but also some breakfast dishes and a pizza — accompanied by a brief bit about where or when they were first enjoyed or a tip on how to serve them. Many are family favourites, some a tribute to friends, and a few borrowed from the kitchens of beloved Brits Nigella Lawson, Mary Berry and Jamie Oliver. 

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Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast — 70 Simple Recipes & Crafts for Everyday Celebrations

Sasquatch Books sent me a copy of Scandinavian Gatherings for review purposes. All opinions are mine and from the heart. 

With a high of 7°C, it’s been milder here today then it has in ages yet even so, all I want to do is burrow under the covers and not come out until Spring has sprung. Fortunately I have lots of great books to keep me company. One I keep coming back to is Scandinavian Gatherings: From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast — 70 Simple Recipes & Crafts for Everyday Celebrations by Melissa Bahen of the food and lifestyle blog Lulu the Baker

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Cute Christmas Cookies: Adorable and Delicious Festive Treats + Win a copy!

I wish I had more people to bake for because I’d love to try all 25 recipes in Cute Christmas Cookies: Adorable and Delicious Festive Treats by Hannah Miles. I made the iced mitten and frosted pinecone cookies this weekend in my jammies (which I highly recommend for extra baking cozyness) and they are indeed both adorable and delicious. And there’s much more where that came from! Cookies to warm the heart (snowman faces and polar bear snow globes), cookies to decorate the tree (garland cookies and candy cane cookies), cookies to gift (mini gingerbread houses and peppermint bark), and cookies to stir up some seasonal magic (coconut snowballs and clementine linzer cookies). All in a beautifully photographed book with both American and British measurements for friends across the pond. Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy to help us get into the holiday spirit and they’ve got one for one of you too. It’s the most, won-der-ful tiiiiiiiiime, of the year! 

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Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!

Remember the story of the little red hen? Everybody wants to eat the bread, but nobody wants to help bake it. That’s what it’s been like around here the past week, only everybody wants to eat the cake, but nobody wants to get off the ipad and help make it. Or do much of anything else. I asked my daughter to give me a hand with this photo and what did I get? “What was I BORN for? Helping with PHOTOS or LIVING?” Yeesh. If you’re looking for me later I’ll be over here stress-eating hunks of this maple pecan cake. It’s from Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World. Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy to review and they’ve got another one for one of you lucky ducks. 

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Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta + Win a copy!

My husband’s late grandfather had the habit of starting many of his sentences with “Here’s another thing you didn’t know,” followed by a long ramble about something obscure that I couldn’t possibly have known or cared to know, like how the father of former finance minister Paul Martin got his start in business or any number of things about Napoleon (the man, not the dessert.) Then it made me bristle, now it makes me snicker. Because despite his gruff delivery, he was almost always right. (Maybe not factually correct, but his versions of events were certainly new to me.) And the more I try small things, the more I think, “Here’s another thing you didn’t know.” Like you can make a cake in a couple of minutes and it’s actually really delicious! At least the ones I tried from Suzy Pelta’s Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes: 28 Quick and Easy Recipes for Tasty TreatsThomas Allen & Son sent me a review copy, and I think you’d like it too. 

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The Sprinkles Baking Book by Candace Nelson + Win a copy!

It’s been a fantastic year for cookbooks, and out just in time for holiday baking (and giving!) is The Sprinkles Baking Book: 100 Secret Recipes from Candace’s Kitchen by Candace Nelson. It’s the first cookbook from the investment baker turned pastry chef and founder of America’s first cupcakes-only bakery, Sprinkles. Inside are 50 cupcake recipes including customer favourites and new ones created for the book, as well as 50 other desserts (brownies and bars, pies and tarts, loaves and puddings and more). I want to try them all! But I started with two. 

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Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft + Win a copy!

The other day I asked you to share with me something you tried recently and quite a few of you told me about a new recipe you’d made and how well it turned out. It’s so satisfying, isn’t it? I’m confident you’ll have all kinds of success with this book too. Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft of the famed Lehamin Bakery (Tel Aviv) and Breads Bakery (New York) is an approachable and inspiring guide that will excite both novice and experienced bakers with its inventive twists on classic and lesser-known breads, scintillating photography and clear, step-by-step instructions. 

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Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff

Like the incredible cakes photographed in its pages, Layered: Baking, Building and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff has all of the ingredients for a delicious and satisfying read: 150 recipes for cakes, frostings, fillings and edible garnishes, gorgeous photography, and detailed instructions for all of the techniques to create them. (Everything from what to stock in your pantry and how to prepare your pans to how to check for doneness and master a variety of frosting finishes.) Classic cakes, chocolate cakes, casual cakes, whimsical cakes, adventurous cakes and holiday cakes are served up with the stories behind them and plenty of helpful troubleshooting tips. Bakers are encouraged (and inspired!) to think beyond chocolate and vanilla (tho you’ll find recipes for those too) and try something inventive and new: an orange passion fruit cake with ombre frosting reminiscent of an island sunset; a boozy banana espresso banana tiramisu cake perfect for dessert al fresco under strings of twinkly lights; and a peanut butter lover’s chocolate bombe topped with a dome of peanut butter mousse and a chocolate ganache so rich and decadent it can only mean I love you